By Lynne Stiefel
February 15, 2010

The 300 block of Meadowbrook Drive in Northfield. The 1100 block of Scott Street in Winnetka. The 1900 block of Deercrest Lane in Northbrook. The 1300 block of Bonnie Glen Lane in Glenview.

Homes on these north suburban blocks were among those put up for auction in foreclosure sales in the last half of 2009.

North and northwest suburban Cook County were among the areas in the region with the most rapid rate of growth in foreclosure filings, according to the latest Woodstock Institute report. New filings increased between 40 percent and 48.5 percent in those areas from 2008 to 2009.

That indicated a shift from the city of Chicago and South Cook County, areas caught up early in the home mortgage crisis, as problems paying the mortgage moved to middle- and higher-income communities.

“The disparities between new foreclosure filings per mortgageable property in South Cook and the city of Chicago and the rest of the region has narrowed,” stated Geoff Smith, the institute’s senior vice president, and research associate Sarah Duda. Communities hard hit with foreclosures for many years now likely have fewer mortgages upon which lenders can foreclose, they said.

That doesn’t appear to be the case in the suburbs. The number of foreclosures were up 70 percent in Glenview in the last half of 2009 compared to the last half of 2008. The number of foreclosed homes tripled in Vernon Hills, more than doubled in Mundelein and Wilmette and nearly doubled in Lincolnshire and Oakbrook Terrace in the same period.

In Barrington Hills, foreclosure filings and auctions impacted 42 homes in 2009, compared to 20 in 2008 and six in 2007.

In Northfield, where the median home price in 2008 had been $700,000, had 32 foreclosed homes in 2009, compared to nine in 2008, 12 in 2007 and six in 2006.

Just six homes were foreclosed on in Winnetka in 2007. There were 32 such homes last year.

The Woodstock Institute report indicated foreclosures in the Chicago region continued to grow in 2009 despite key federal, state and local interventions developed to limit the impact of foreclosures on the region’s homeowners and communities.

Legislation like Illinois’ Homeowner Protection Act and the federal Home Affordable Modification Program may have affected the foreclosure filing timelimes of many mortgage servicers, but didn’t reduce filing activity for the year, according to the report.

And the number of distressed properties will continue to significantly impact the local real estate market in 2010, the report predicted.

“As long as unemployment and the number of homeowners who owe more on their mortgage than their properties are worth remain high, foreclosures will remain a significant issue for the Chicago region,” it stated, with much of the new growth in foreclosure activity continuing to occur in middle- and upper-income communities.

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